mercoledì 28 luglio 2010

Interview with Erin McCarty

q)What is your earliest art-related memory?

a)Every thanksgiving (when I was really little) I used to make these festive, super elaborate sets of the Native Americans dining with the Pilgrims. This involved life size paper cut outs of characters fully accessorized in head dresses and those little pilgrim shoes with the buckles, a full on construction paper thanksgiving meal and table, and a bunch of little piles of fallen tree leaves. There are all these really creepy pictures of me posing in front of the scene (which I taped onto the wall by the dinner table) in a bonnet and looking really pleased with myself.

q) Who has had the greatest influence on your work?

a)I don’t think it is one particular artist so much as it has been my surroundings and experiences. I grew up in Alaska, and the intense weather conditions and towering, craggy landscape has definitely had the biggest influence on my art. It’s made my paintings more epic, concerned with extremes, and bent on communicating the awe-inspiring. I’m definitely more excited to work on a new piece after going on an outing of some kind rather than trolling around online. There is so much jaw-dropping talent out there that it can get pretty overwhelming and even discouraging at times. If I’m feeling down on myself, it just creates icky feelings that aren’t good for motivation. A good time spent in the mountains or forest always, always puts me in a frame of mind where I become overwhelmed by beauty in a good, healthy way that feels meaningful and not forced. Then I’m more driven to create something that is unique to my experience and perception, as opposed to copying someone else’s techniques.

q) What are the main tools of your craft?

a)Gouache, ink, 400lb archival watercolor paper. I’m really into Holbein Acryla Gouache right now for the insane color options.

q) Is a formal education important?

a)Depends on the individual. All I can say is that it really helped shape me as an individual. I became more serious and engaged. If I hadn’t gone to college, there would have been more potential for me to be aimless. Initially, going in to art school I had a pretty bad attitude about it, and was even embarrassed to tell people that that was what I was doing. It sounds cheesy, but I started to take myself more seriously the minute I took art school more seriously.

q) What is the biggest misconception about art?

a)That you always have to suffer for it.

q) Which is more important in art - concept or execution?

a)It varies piece to piece and person to person. For me, concept is more important for now. This is because I can’t get excited about a piece if I’m not excited about an idea first. However, the concept can be as loose as “okay, today I want to make a painting that describes how bright the sun feels”. It doesn’t always have to be major.

q) What theme or aesthetic are you most drawn too?

a)Rendering the grotesque in a way that is really beautiful to look at. Lately I’ve been pretty fixated on the human body…veins, pus, bones, rot, and all that.

q) What is your favorite piece of art in your home?

a)At my childhood home there is this big goat head on the wall. It is the one & only thing my dad has ever hunted and had mounted. He did it alone in Alaska when he was a young man and I think it was a pretty big deal for him. I remember him saying he cried afterwards, and ended up eating some of it that night. It is one of those stories that made my dad seem larger than life when I was a little kid, and feels mythologized to me at this point. Usually people that have animal heads on their walls have about 5-10 heads. We just have the one, and it stands out so much in our little tv room.

q) If you could collaborate with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

a)Gustav Klimt. I know we could make some ultra patterned, pervy stuff together. William Blake for his boldness, storytelling, and compositions.

q) What has been your greatest achievement to date?

a)Seeing how much stronger my work has become over time. It is a huge motivator to keep doing this.

q) What has been your biggest roadblock?

a)Fear & self doubt, the biggest killer of creativity.

q) How do you define success?

a)Getting to a place where I feel stable enough financially to support myself, as well as help emerging artists make a career for themselves in some way. It is important to give back to the community that opened the gates for you, and after so much time of self reflection I think focusing on other people would feel like a vacation!

q) What is the best piece of (art-related) advice you’ve ever been given?

a)A teacher of mine said something along the lines of , “half of succeeding as an artist is talent, and the other is just pure serendipity”. That just feels really true to me. You can’t always force things, and sometimes the most perfect opportunity comes out of nowhere.